July 13, 2024

Whole Community News

From Kalapuya lands in the Willamette watershed

Bethel looks to Sept. 26 discussion of public health overlay zone

5 min read

Bethel is looking forward to Sept. 26, when the city council will discuss a public health overlay zone. During public comment Monday night, Suzanne O’Shea.

[00:00:09] Suzanne O’Shea: Hi, my name is Suzanne O’Shea, treasurer for the Active Bethel Community neighborhood association. And I just want to quickly mention three of the things that our neighborhood are very concerned about.

[00:00:23] One is to protect the homeless. Eugene is nationally famous now for CAHOOTS, but we would like the city council to look at what other cities are doing. The rain and the cold will be coming very soon and the homeless will be worse off than they are now. And you’ve all heard about the homeless in our neighborhood that were run over by a car recently.

[00:00:45] And also, I just want to voice our support for the public health overlay zone. We would like to protect our residents from future industries so we don’t have another J H Baxter or similar industry moving into our neighborhood without a close look at how they would be affecting our neighborhood and how we would be protected from them and what insurance they have for damages.

[00:01:10] And the third thing is the Bethel neighborhood plan. We want to thank you for looking at Bethel and Trainsong and hope that you can do all you can to improve our neighborhood and make it more livable. And we just want to say, thank you for your support.

[00:01:26] Lin Woodrich: My name’s Lin Woodrich. I’m the Active Bethel community co-chair living in ward six with my 93-year-old dad and have been a homeowner in the Bethel portion of ward eight for 25 years. I look forward to listening to the work session for the public health overlay zone at 5:30 p.m. on Sept. 26.

[00:01:43] This tool will be a critical piece in future planning for our area. There’s a desperate need for a public health overlay zone in West Eugene. I can’t stress enough how important implementing this policy will be for protecting the lives of the folks living in the Bethel community. We don’t want to ever see another J H Baxter-type polluting business in our area.

[00:02:03] Bethel has the worst pollution problems in Eugene, with most of the large polluters in Eugene located here in Bethel. Bethel has large sections of industrial land adjacent to residential properties and located near schools and parks, including the industrial corridors along Highway 99 and Roosevelt.

[00:02:20] We’re also asking that the Bethel biking and pedestrian projects be included in the next road bond. Our Bethel area plan will be including these suggestions when we’re given the opportunity to plan our future.

[00:02:30] it would be appreciated if you would consider these projects as high priorities for the Bethel community for allocation of bond funds. We now have 50 residents so far who’ve signed up and are excited to help with Bethel planning. I so look forward to being able to safely have an in-person meeting with the residents, with food donated from our Bethel businesses and know there will be a huge turnout.

[00:02:51] It’s been 40 years since Bethel had an area plan and we’re asking for the Bethel area plan work session to be scheduled this fall. There’s an urgency to get this started. We’ve been neglected for far too long.

[00:03:04] Councilor Greg Evans: I again want to thank Lin Woodrich and Suzanne O’Shea for speaking up on behalf of Bethel.

[00:03:09] I appreciate your consistency on that and keeping us focused and moving forward on the areas of our community that have been sorely neglected for so many years. I’m looking forward to our conversation on the overlay zone and also looking forward to having this conversation about an area plan for Bethel that is more than 40 years overdue.

[00:03:35] So in those areas I’m really glad to see that our folks are stepping up. And I think that you’re going to see a lot more folks from Bethel that will be coming out shortly to advocate for our neighborhood and our community and for the livability and health of the community.

[00:03:52] I’ve had a few conversations with you around the room about some of the other issues that we need to tackle, and particularly Union Pacific in their travels through our community, and certain things that happen with things that they carry on their trains. And I’m looking forward to hopefully having a robust conversation with Union Pacific about that and to have them included in the conversation about the overlay zone.

[00:04:20] Councilor Randy Groves: Thank you, Councilor Evans, for all those points. I agree with you on Bethel situation. I’m very interested in the health overlay zone and was also brought up by, I believe Suzanne O’Shea, on the risk bonds piece. That’s a component of this as well.

[00:04:36] Councilor Mike Clark: I want to say thank you to Councilor Evans for his comment. And Suzanne and certainly Lin Woodrich, who have both reminded us for so very long of the importance of us getting to the Bethel area plan. And certainly I look forward to the health overlay zone conversation as well.

[00:04:55] But I have heard this similar request for a very long time. They’ve been that they’ve been amazing in their ability to come so regularly and make the request when it is taken far too long for us to get there.

I have an additional request of Lin and those who might speak to us in the future about the upcoming Bethel area planning work that we will do. And I would like to hear from them, as time is going on here, more comments about the outcomes that they hope to see when we do this, ’cause it is now something we are going to do soon, I hope. I’m very interested in hearing from them more about the outcomes that they’d like to see come from council, what they hope to accomplish with an area plan.

[00:05:41] John Q: The work session for the public health overlay zone is coming up Sept. 26 at 5:30 p.m.

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